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Something I noticed about "personal interpretation"

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Minotaur
(@minotaur)
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It exists!

I've been surfing and scouring internet videos for songs I like and am working on. Sundown (Gordon Lightfoot, but you all probably knew that :wink: ) is one. I sometimes do it on my 12-string (usually on my electric, clean sound), and always capoed at 2nd fret, like Gordon did it.

One thing I've found is that my strumming pattern is really not like his. I can't find anything that definitively shows the song's strumming pattern. And that bothered me as I first started out. But then I noticed that in every Youtube or other video in which I've seen people doing covers, they are all different, yet "The Song Remains The Same" (sorry, I had to do that :P ). And I realized that my pattern is my own, and guess what... it does sound like Sundown! Imagine that! :wink:

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


   
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sparky1ma
(@sparky1ma)
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minotaur, to me playing guitar is a lot like playing golf(stick with me on this one) it's the little victories that keep us going. In golf it's that one great shot after 67 crappy ones that keeps me playing. With the guitar it's that chord change that you have been working on for 2 weeks that finally comes together, or in your case the strum pattern that just sounds right.

Keep up the good work.

ROCK ON!!!! :note1: :note2:
Rich

Where am I going....and why am I in this hand basket?


   
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Minotaur
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Yep, the little breakthroughs that make you ride high... a little bit goes a long way. :lol:

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


   
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Vic Lewis VL
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Personal interpretation? Well, when I'm working on a new song, I'll listen very carefully to it, break it down into tiny pieces, learn it note-for-note - then do it my way. I want it to sound like the original, but not just a soulless, robotic copy, if you know what I mean....

But that's just MY personal interpretation....

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


   
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jwmartin
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We have to remember that music is an art and art isn't about perfection. I notice a huge difference between my approach to guitar and my son's approach to guitar. I'm self-taught and have had 0 musical training and while I try to get close to the original, I see nothing wrong with playing the solo differently, substituting a different chord voicing or playing it tuned down a whole step (unless I'm playing along w/ the recording). My son is self taught on the guitar, but he's been in the school band for 5 years and plays march/classical percussion, so he sees playing a song as a precise recitation of the original. I'm getting him to relax a little now, I keep reminding him that it's rock 'n' roll and it's supposed to be rebellious. 8)

You do have to get close to the original if you want people to recognize it, like if you are in a cover band. Or you can completely reinterpret it. A great example is Chris Cornell's cover of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean". You don't even really catch what song he's doing unless you listen to the lyrics.

Bass player for Undercover


   
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Vic Lewis VL
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jwmartin, yes I agree, if you're in a cover band you want to be pretty close to the original. Haven't heard Chris Cornell's version of Billie Jean - but another good example would be Joe Cocker's version of "A Little Help From My Friends."

I'll never learn a solo note-for-note - well, I might learn it note-for-note, but I'll never play it that way...I'll settle for close-enough-to-be-recognisable.

The one thing that really bugs me, though - when I'm jamming with friends, they'll insist on doing a song in the original key. If I've got to sing it, I want it in a key where I can actually hit the notes comfortably. A friend of mine insists on doing "Stand By Me" in A, because that's the key Lennon does it in - but if I try and sing it in A, my voice is all over the place. I have to come DOWN an octave for the chorus because I can't reach the high notes in A....but if we play it in G (where the chords used are G, Em, C and D...how easy is THAT!) I don't have any problems. "I've learned the slide solo in A," he'll say - to which I usually reply, "well play everything two frets lower!"

I've no problems in changing a song's key, whether it's from G to Eb or whatever - but like most singers, I have trouble sometimes singing a song in the original key. A couple of steps down, or a few steps up, I'm OK....and that's why capos were invented!

:D :D :D

Vic

"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)


   
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David Hodge
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Possibly the best way to get the original strumming pattern to a song is to see it written out in sheet music, and that means sheet music specifically written out for guitar. I have a book of Gordon Lightfoot songs and can send a copy of Sundown out your way if you'd like. Just PM me about that.

But one important thing to remember is that in a lot of recorded versions, there's very often more than one guitar laying down the rhythm. Lightfoot usually used at least one or two additional guitarists when recording. Even solo artists may lay down a rhythm track on an acoustic guitar and then an additional rhythm track over that. And it's human nature to make little glitches here and there, so even if the artist was trying to duplicate the original track, chances are that it was off in places. But usually the second rhythm track would be different in order to flesh out the rhythm somewhat, to give it more depth.

You're rarely hearing a single guitar, so how could anyone expect to come up with a single-guitar part that plays a certain song exactly? Yes, in some cases it's possible. But more often than not, I don't think so.

Part of the fun of re-interpreting songs is, as jwm infers, the wonder and surprise of hearing (and seeing) a song in a whole new light. Kathy Reichert ("katreich" here at the GN forums) does a fantastic single acoustic guitar version of the Jackson 5 hit I Want You Back. You spend the whole first verse thinking "I'm sure I know this song..." and then in the chorus you finally catch on to it.

For one of our upcoming get togethers (is it really next weekend?) we're doing a "smooth jazz" version of Takin' Care of Business, by Bachman Turner Overdrive, complete with a break in 5/4 time. Since Randy Bachman's been finally getting into the jazz playing that he's always liked, I thought it might be cool to do some of his older material in the same style. :wink:

And then there's the punk version of To Sir With Love...

Congrats on the breakthrough, sir! There are many more to come!

Peace


   
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jwmartin
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A friend of mine insists on doing "Stand By Me" in A, because that's the key Lennon does it in - but if I try and sing it in A, my voice is all over the place. I have to come DOWN an octave for the chorus because I can't reach the high notes in A....but if we play it in G (where the chords used are G, Em, C and D...how easy is THAT!) I don't have any problems. "I've learned the slide solo in A," he'll say - to which I usually reply, "well play everything two frets lower!"

Have him tune his guitar down a whole step and he can play it the way he's used to, but it'll be the key you need. :D

Bass player for Undercover


   
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Minotaur
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Topic starter  

Personal interpretation? Well, when I'm working on a new song, I'll listen very carefully to it, break it down into tiny pieces, learn it note-for-note - then do it my way. I want it to sound like the original, but not just a soulless, robotic copy, if you know what I mean....

But that's just MY personal interpretation....

:D :D :D

Vic

Yes, that's it.

For example, staying with Sundown :roll: This guy is fantastic, and I could only imagine being as good as him...

That's a good example of making a great song still sound great.

But this is a horrible "interpretation" of a great song. I hope John Fogerty sues the snot out of GE. :lol:

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


   
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Minotaur
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Possibly the best way to get the original strumming pattern to a song is to see it written out in sheet music, and that means sheet music specifically written out for guitar. I have a book of Gordon Lightfoot songs and can send a copy of Sundown out your way if you'd like. Just PM me about that.

Aw that would be great. PM coming your way. Thanks.
But one important thing to remember is that in a lot of recorded versions, there's very often more than one guitar laying down the rhythm. Lightfoot usually used at least one or two additional guitarists when recording. Even solo artists may lay down a rhythm track on an acoustic guitar and then an additional rhythm track over that. And it's human nature to make little glitches here and there, so even if the artist was trying to duplicate the original track, chances are that it was off in places. But usually the second rhythm track would be different in order to flesh out the rhythm somewhat, to give it more depth.

You're rarely hearing a single guitar, so how could anyone expect to come up with a single-guitar part that plays a certain song exactly? Yes, in some cases it's possible. But more often than not, I don't think so.

Yes, that's kind of what I figured. WIth a high quality playback unit, be it stereo amp/receiver, computer sound system... you can hear things you won't hear from a crappy portable cd player. I've noticed now that I am "playing " (I am so reluctant to use that word :oops: ) I am noticing this.

For example, in Two Of Us, I can do the intro slide or jump into the rhythm, but not overlap. Why, because when I saw the video I saw that both Paul and John are playing... duh! :roll:
And then there's the punk version of To Sir With Love...

Eeeewww *crinkles nose and curls lips*
Congrats on the breakthrough, sir! There are many more to come!

Peace

Thanks. What I like about this site is not only the online lessons, but all the active discussions about music. I'm not going to name names or dog any other sites, but there are a few forums are are kind of stuffy and uppity. The responses to my posts and questions have been lessons in themselves. :wink:

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


   
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UrbanCowgirl
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But one important thing to remember is that in a lot of recorded versions, there's very often more than one guitar laying down the rhythm.
That really confused me when I first picked up the guitar. I would hear a song and think, "wow there is NO WAY I will ever be able to play that." Realizing that it was usually more than one guitar on a recording helped me have some hope and see that a lot of songs are actually really simple.

I like to hear people do some personal interpretation. I mean, if I wanted to hear the song exactly I would just stay home and listen to the CD. Even the artists themselves often do their songs a little differently when they play live.

All my life I wanted to be somebody. Now I see I should have been more specific.


   
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Minotaur
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That really confused me when I first picked up the guitar. I would hear a song and think, "wow there is NO WAY I will ever be able to play that." Realizing that it was usually more than one guitar on a recording helped me have some hope and see that a lot of songs are actually really simple.

Yep, that's what I mean. :wink: I'm encouraged.

It is difficult to answer when one does not understand the question.


   
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greybeard
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Even the artists themselves often do their songs a little differently when they play live.
The quintessential "doing it a little differently live" is Bob Dylan, who does the Jimi Hendrix version of "All along the watchtower" on stage - brilliant.

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
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My Articles & Reviews on GN


   
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boxboy
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I used to make mix tapes (way back when) called Remake/Remodel: they were the original and the most radical reinventions of songs that I loved.
The one that comes to mind is Take Me to the River. Al Green and Talking Heads. From southern soul steamer to angst ridden, egghead pop. And both great in their own way.
I think a modern conceit that's really harmful is the idea that only the person/s who wrote the song can do it 'properly'.
:)

Don


   
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clideguitar
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It exists!
I've been surfing and scouring internet videos for songs I like and am working on. Sundown (Gordon Lightfoot, but you all probably knew that :wink: ) is one. I sometimes do it on my 12-string (usually on my electric, clean sound), and always capoed at 2nd fret, like Gordon did it.

Love this song! I play this song allot but its weak without... that second guitar and some arpeggio's (sp?). I've tried to spice it up with some base runs but they don't sound right. It's just the 5 chords, E, E7, B7(SUS4)? and D and A.

I really did a hard search for this song but that's basically all your going to find.

There's another song, "If you could read my mind" that I try to play (the finger picking version) but it just (I'm close) doesn't sound right.... I think because of what DHODGE says about more than 1 guitar.

I was surprised to find his CD's in the country section?

Bob Jessie


   
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